(Update: September 28 – review reflection coming shortly)
I’ve just started The Vanished, by Denmark’s brother and sister team, Lotte and Soren Hammer. I’m 5% into it and I expect to be up all night devouring it. Why is this news? Well, because the sibling Hammer’s debut novel, The Hanging – while receiving rave reviews in native Denmark and other nordic parts – bombed miserably in its English version – because, well, because the English translation was abysmal – and the initial cover was shite also. Lots of very peeved people on Amazon expressing their peevety in no uncertain terms. I didn’t even attempt a read.
The second installment – The Girl in the Ice (what a great title – except, ooops, they weren’t the first to use it, about five other authors got there before them!) was sort of ho-hum, or so I’ve heard. But a much better cover. See? Somebody got wise. Now for the third installment, The Vanished. Well, if it’s as good as the first chapters, which went through me like a gunshot to the brain, then I’ll be giving up eating for the next several days until it’s finished. Maybe, just maybe, these authors are worth all the hype – earning this glowing blurb from no less a distinguished crime writer than Lars Kepler: The best Danish crime fiction in years! I hope so, because I’m really looking forward to the next several days without food. And also who could not love a pair of weirdo siblings who look like this: No wonder they write crime. Something kinky and sinister going on there, I’m sure. Would you want to spend a weekend alone with this pair in a Nordic cabin deep in the woods without electricity?
Not sure when I will get around to reviewing The Vanished, however, because I’m just finishing up Geraldine Evans’ Dead Before Morning, (having just polished off Manda Scott’s revisionist crime novel featuring Joan of Arc, Into the Fire, so my plate is full.) Dead Before Morning is the first installment in Ms. Evan’s Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series, part cozy-part quirky police procedural, a sub genre she virtually invented herself. I can already reveal I’m giving it five stars – not because it’s a world classic crime novel on a par with Gorky Park or The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, but because Ms. Evans – on her first try – so perfectly fulfilled the requirements of the sub genre she invented. It is a perfect little masterpiece of economy and control and a class act. Geraldine Evans is a Book Club Reading List author, and I reviewed her book, Blood on the Bones, here on this blog sometime ago. Ms. Evans also has a second novel listed with Book Club Reading List, A Thrust to the Vitals. And herein lies one of the advantages of listing one’s book on a reading list : to wit, readers are introduced to an author’s entire body of work ( or oeuvre, if you wish to be snooty and sound French) and not simply a single volume. A single click takes an interested reader to the author’s webpage and Amazon page, and there you are (or voila!). I was introduced to Geraldine Evans through Book Club Reading List and she’s now become one of my favorite crime authors.
Besides, who could resist an author’s page when they look like this: